True Disciples Watch and Remember
There was no doubt, when Jesus had disturbed the market in the temple He also unsettled the religious power-holders. They demanded to know His authority for doing so, and wanted Him to do a miracle. But Jesus never did miracles to satisfy people’s curiosity. Instead He told them a riddle: “Destroy this temple and I will rebuild it in three days”. But it made no sense to them at all.
Three years later, after He had risen from the dead, the disciples remembered the riddle and its meaning became obvious. The ‘temple’ was not the great stone structure in Jerusalem but His own body, which would die and receive new life three days later. We have no idea if any in the crowd remembered, but the one-line riddle was not intended for them; it was for the disciples. Even though the crowd said they were interested to know about Jesus’ authority, it was the disciples who needed to be convinced. Indeed much that Jesus did was primarily aimed at His disciples. His purpose in calling them to be with Him was so that they would understand who He was - God in the flesh, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Then they could become leaders of the church; having the assurance they needed to face tough times and lead others through them, confident that Jesus really was the unique Son of God.
But why did Jesus speak in riddles and parables? Even when He gave the disciples the explanations, they did not understand until after the resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said to them, “The knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of God has been given to you, but to others I speak in parables” (Luke 8:10). But, they remembered what He said and did! The remarkable thing about being a disciple of Jesus is that when He speaks, we know it. And when we cannot understand it, He builds into us a ‘divinely appointed frustration’ that is unsatisfied until He reveals more. But we may be confident that the Lord Himself is always at the centre of the answer. It is not things, or ideas, or programmes of activity that we most need, but Jesus Himself.
© Dr Paul Adams